SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A U.S. Border Patrol supervisor has been charged with creating bogus alerts in the agency’s database to force routine stops, sometimes at gunpoint, of a legal U.S. resident who frequently crosses the border with Mexico, court documents said on Friday.
The supervisor at the border station in San Diego, Martin Rene Duran, was trying to force his target to withdraw allegations that his brother-in-law had sexually abused the target’s son and stepson, according to a federal complaint.
Duran was charged with falsifying records, depriving the victim of his civil rights under color of law and illegal transportation of firearms that investigators said he had lied to obtain, according to the complaint unsealed on Friday.
Duran’s brother-in-law, Raymundo Estrada Figueroa, was charged with two counts of international travel for illicit sex in the same complaint.
Duran’s target was a Mexican citizen who holds legal residency in the United States and reported to Mexican police that Figueroa had sexually abused both his son and his stepson in Tijuana, the court documents said.
The alleged target was not named to protect the two boys, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Duran was charged with entering false alerts into the U.S. Customs and Border Protection database used to screen people entering the United States.
The alerts prompted customs officers to detain the alleged target five times between May 2013 and August 2013 because they believed he was associated with smuggling narcotics, armed with a handgun and had threatened federal agents, according to the complaint.
More than once, the target was detained at gunpoint, according to a statement from prosecutors. In July 2013, the target and his wife were handcuffed, separated from their children and held for two hours before being released, according to the complaint.
The alleged target believed Duran was pressuring him to drop the complaint against Estrada, it added.
Duran was arrested on Thursday, officials said.
It was not immediately clear if he had obtained a lawyer or how he intended to plead. Attempts to reach Duran by phone were not successful.
Duran also faces federal charges of having lied on Arizona gun purchase forms, saying he was an Arizona resident when he lived in the San Diego-area.